Flying Over I-95 N. All Oversized. (Part III of III)

airplane-seat-fly

6:31 am.

I’m walking, my oversized shoes slap on the industrial carpet. Mr. Dandy is somewhere behind me.  My crumpled and oversized J. Crew Chino’s uncomfortably sag off my a**.  And, I’m dragging this bitch of a carry-on with its shrieking left wheel ricocheting its echo up and down the jetway.

I catch a faint mix of Purell hand sanitizer and sweat. The Purell is me, no doubt – the other half, just can’t be me. I crane my neck down to confirm, and it’s confirmed.  As I lift my head back up, I catch another shot, must be from the winter coat two bodies ahead.

I’m undeterred by all of this, beaming with good fortune – a complimentary upgrade to first class.

She’s behind me, but I don’t see her.

I stuff my bag into the overhead bin, and step out of the aisle to let the traffic pass.  She points to the window: “I’m sorry, but that’s my seat.”

In the tight quarters of the aisle, we are separated by inches. She’s in her mid to late 20’s.   She’s wearing jeans, and a baggy red sweater.  She’s an inch or two shorter, but I’m dwarfed by her, by a minimum of 1.3x my body weight.  She settles in her seat.

For more than 2,000,000 flight miles, the ritual is solitary confinement.  Get in seat, twist in ear buds, and emit a repellent: “there’ll be no small talk, none, zero.” Yet, here, and now, I have this need to strike up a conversation, and it throws me off kilter.

“Did you luck out with an upgrade too?”

She smiles but does not respond. I’m missed the mark, and fail to see why.  That should have been enough, would have been enough for me, but I have this hankering to want to pursue. She pulls out The Circle by Dave Eggers.

“Do you like the book?”

“I just started it. I’m reading it for book club.”

Now that she’s engaged, I’m dragged along by some ragging current – I want to continue. No, I need to continue. I’m in territory well beyond my comfort zone, yet there is a need to engage, and a need to make her feel OK.

“Did you happen to read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Eggers.  Great book.”

“No, it’s my first by Eggers.”

She turns back to her book, silent for the rest of the flight.

I’m swamped by her presence.

I pull out my e-reader, and reread the same paragraph over and over. I flip on a movie, but can’t focus. I recline my seat to nap, but can’t sleep.

I glance over. The book rests on her lap. Both arms are tucked tight to her body, a body that fills the seat.  No part of her is on the armrest. I copy the position but can’t hold it for more than a few minutes letting my arms spill over on both armrests.

She’s offered a drink.  “No thank you.” She’s offered breakfast. “No thank you.” It’s a three hour flight, she does not get up once. She does not lay her arm on any part of the armrest for the entire trip. Two humans on different sides of Oversize, one sitting quietly reading. The other unsettled, unhinged, really.

What do I know?
How dare I deduce?
Who am I too judge?


Notes:

Comments

  1. Perhaps it’s less about the literal space one fills, and more about how one fills their space…(& you still need to retire your carry on – if it’s driving you crazy – as it clearly is. Oh, and J Crew sells a wide variety of sizes – just sayin’ 😉🙃)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. congrats on the upgrade to first class.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WMS. And not for nothin’, but you can get the pants AND a new bag at J. Crew. Just sayin’…https://www.jcrew.com/p/mens_category/bags/travelbags/wallace-barnes-canvas-weekender-bag/G0508

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hmmmm…. I know that feeling. Sometimes we just need to know. I’m left to wonder what the disembarking was like.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting..your need to engage, very uncommon for a seasoned traveler. It seems, she was okay, all by herself.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve sat beside her too David. I always want to engage and I love learning what brings people on my flight, who or what they’re visiting. On another note I remember when planes had less seats and people of all sizes were comfortable, Now it feels as if everyone somewhat spills out of their seat.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One more thought entered my mind: how cool it would be to sit beside you on a flight! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Funny how we intrude into others space when we want to feel better about our own. Thanks for this vulnerable thoughtful post David. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Laughing at the slight rejection you experienced here Mr K, but didn’t you just describe so beautifully, the way you looked, the way you smelled and the noise your luggage made? And you are surprised she didn’t want to engage? Ha..Step it up Mr K. 💚

    Liked by 2 people

  10. i think that we, your readers, to band together to start of gofundme page for a new piece of luggage for you, it’s the least we could do to help make our world a better place )

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I came back from New York a few months ago I sat next to a flight attendant who was on a return journey from France. “deadheading” she called it. She had been on the plane 8 hours or so. I said hello and launched into my story about New York, paused only for her to take her earbuds out (I guess she had been listening to music). I finished my story, and started on a run that ranged from being afraid of heights, but not of flying, to how many flight attendants I knew, and how I knew about the ACARS system on the plane because of the work I do, and a newfound love for Jamaican food.
    At some point she politely excused herself, and when she came back she had a blanket and earbuds for ME, and showed me how I could watch a movie on the back of the seat in front of me. She was very nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Enjoyed your travel, DK. All of it. For me it’s also ‘solitary confinement’ 99% of the time. The time in the cabin is all mine, and that’s precious. But if you sat next to me, I’d probably consider an exception 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You said it, David, “being at peace in our own skin.” That isn’t easy for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

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